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Feb. 9, 2007

OSWEGO COUNTY CONTINUING TO DIG OUT FROM SNOW

Fulton - Conditions in Oswego County are improving, Oswego County Legislature Chairman Russ Johnson said this morning, but the state of emergency remains in effect to allow the county to utilize resources to continue efforts protecting the public health and safety."

"The state of emergency declaration places no restrictions on travel or the opening of schools and businesses," the legislature chairman stressed. "For the public, the declaration means only that conditions remain hazardous in areas of the county and people should continue to exercise extreme caution."

The declaration is made in accordance with New York State Executive Law Article 2-B and provides for additional leverage for chief elected officials of municipalities to utilize all available resources to protect public health and safety.

Roads throughout Oswego County are open. However, hazardous conditions continue, and motorists should be aware that high snow banks may obstruct intersections. Also, with high wind conditions, whiteouts can occur.

Governor Elliot Spitzer declared a state disaster emergency for Oswego County Thursday afternoon, enabling resources from the State Department of Transportation and State Department of Corrections to be allocated to assist municipalities in clearing snow.

NYSDOT Regional Director Carl F. Ford said, "In addition to the 75 workers from the Syracuse region that have been engaged in keeping the state highway system clear since this event began, the Governor's declaration has allowed us to bring in an additional 50 workers and snow blowing equipment from Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Albany, as well as additional support from the Watertown and Buffalo regions. These forces are working directly with local highway departments in Oswego County to open up roads and intersections. We are supporting their efforts to restore the transportation system in the interest of public safety."

Oswego County has also received assistance from emergency response agencies in neighboring counties. "We're grateful for the assistance our partners have given us, particularly for emergency medical and fire services," said Patricia Egan, Director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office.

Emergency officials requested that people check on their neighbors, especially elderly people, to make sure that there is access to their homes and that they have enough supplies, such as fuel, groceries and medications.

"We also want to remind people to make sure children are not playing in snow banks near the road," Legislature Chairman Johnson said. "They could easily become trapped in a snow cave that collapses or by a snow plow that cannot see them."

The Legislature Chairman said there have been no deaths associated with this storm system, which began last Sunday, and that health and emergency medical services officials are issuing safety precautions to avoid injuries.

Up to 10 feet of snow has fallen in some areas of the county since this storm system began on Sunday. As people dig out from the heavy lake-effect snow, Legislature Chairman Johnson stressed they should follow safety precautions, especially in using snow blowers and other equipment.

The Legislature Chairman also reminded people to follow proper precautions clearing snow from their roofs, and to be sure snow falling does not fall on propane tanks or blocks vents to the home. "If you are outside, be sure to wear layers to avoid hypothermia and frostbite," he said.

While driving, motorists should be aware that high snow banks may obstruct intersections. Also, with high wind conditions, whiteouts can occur.

People using alternate sources of heat in their home should make sure to follow manufacturer's instructions and follow proper fire safety precautions. "Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly - as well as your carbon monoxide detectors."


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